Tuesday, 12 May 2015

How meditation morphed from freaky to mainstream.

Change without confrontation: The making of mainstream meditation
by Kucinskas, Jaime, Ph.D., INDIANA UNIVERSITY, 2014, 315 pages; 3629911


"This dissertation contributes to scholarship on consensus-based movement mobilization, institutional change, and field theory by exploring how movements with stigmatized cultural elements develop consensus-based tactics to establish legitimacy and build new fields. Using mixed qualitative methods and an abductive, multi-level approach, I examine how Buddhist-inspired meditators legitimized and diffused meditation to create a new contemplative meditation field anchored in multiple secular fields (science, education, business, healthcare, and the military), largely without confrontation. 

In Chapter 1, I investigate how this movement assesses the broader multi-institutional environment it is embedded in, as well as movement leaders' strategies to break into new fields. 

I examine in Chapter 2 how movement leaders adapt and transform Buddhist culture to move it into new secular institutions. I find Buddhist meditation undergoes a secularization process, at the same time as elements of the sacred are infused into secular institutions. Investigating how meditation moves reveals the importance of strategic action in contemporary lived religion, as well as shows how many kinds of institution-specific forms of contemplative culture are produced through interactions with targeted audiences. These diverse forms of contemplative culture enable the movement to recruit and include many different institutional audiences. 

Lastly, in Chapter 3, I show how the movement "intervention" programs, which resocialize organizational inhabitants to align their lives with contemplative perspectives, help the movement transform their targeted institutions from the inside out.

This is an open access dissertation.

Use the link below to access the full text PDF of this graduate work:


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